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Christmas invitations go out in May!


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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - and it's only May. We were not only suffering from April showers but we are now being faced with festive invitations.

Two turned up out of the blue this week. At first we thought it was a scam but they were snow joke.

Maidstone Harriers running club have plumped for December 12 to hold their Christmas Turkey Run
Maidstone Harriers running club have plumped for December 12 to hold their Christmas Turkey Run
Cllr Cameron Beart's social media post apologising for using the 'C' word in May
Cllr Cameron Beart's social media post apologising for using the 'C' word in May

The first was from the Maidstone Harriers running club to announce its 28th annual seven-and-a-half-mile Turkey Run. It takes place on December 12.

The club went all festive using the theme of Twelve Days of Christmas in a Tweet but changed the words to read: “On the twelfth day of December the Maidstone Harriers bring to you... the Turkey Run!”

Contestants are invited to sign up now.

Club president Grant Woodman, 66, said: “Actually, it’s later than usual. I normally try to get the dates out in February or March. There is such a lot of paperwork to do. A permit to close some of the roads can take months and because we are affiliated to UK Athletics we can’t advertise the date until we have the permit.”

The retired builder added: “I used to do it then because it was the quietest time of the year for my work.”

Grant Woodman, president of the Maidstone Harriers running club
Grant Woodman, president of the Maidstone Harriers running club

This year’s entries have been reduced to 600 because of possible Covid restrictions. The marathon runner said: “People are still wary about getting out again but we already have 40 signed up. Spaces are going fast.”

Girl Guides help design the run’s T-shirts and staff water-stops. All entrants receive a free Christmas pudding.

The Harriers are not the only organisation to have jumped on the Christmas bandwagon so early.

Queenborough Town Council on the Isle of Sheppey has issued a “save the date” plea for its Christmas lights parade on December 5.

Swale councillor Cameron Beart (Con, Queenborough and Halfway) commented on social media as he shared the news: "Apologies for the use of the 'C' word in May."

The Sheppey Pirates at a previous Queenborough and Rushenden Christmas lantern. Picture: Phil Lee
The Sheppey Pirates at a previous Queenborough and Rushenden Christmas lantern. Picture: Phil Lee
Maidstone Harriers Christmas Turkey Run
Maidstone Harriers Christmas Turkey Run

Plans for the event were discussed at the council's recent meeting. Cllr Ashley Shiel who chairs the lantern parade committee posted: "When you get to talk Christmas... I love Town Council." But one wag replied: "Are you high? We need summer first."

Town mayor Zoe Swarbrick added: "It's going to be bigger and better than before. Some top security things planned."

The parade normally features lights, carols and appearances from the Sheppey Pirates followed by fireworks on the seafront.

Town clerk Lisa Gransden said: "The announcement of the date is actually later than previous years because of the Government guidelines constantly changing surrounding Covid-19 restrictions.

"Queenborough Town Council always plans the event as early as possible in the year. It is always based on tide times for our fireworks display which is held on the causeway on the same evening. As you can imagine, the event takes months of planning.

"By announcing the date we have given the community of Queenborough and Rushenden, and visitors joining is from around the Isle of Sheppey and the mainland, something to hopefully look forward to after a year of lockdown."

She added: "We are currently looking into acts for the procession. Once more is confirmed we will release further details."

At least it beats the annual clamour of disgruntled shoppers discovering Easter eggs on sale in supermarket aisles before Boxing Day. And no one can say they weren't warned.

Perhaps it is time for radio stations to start playing Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody again? Band Aid could rename their hit Do They Know It's May and Wizard could finally get their wish I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. And we could all end up dreaming of a hot Christmas...

* Have you received a festive invitation yet? Share it by emailing details to timesguardian@thekmgroup.co.uk

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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